Ever wonder whether you’d get more responses if you changed your tone of voice, messaged more frequently, or followed up just one more time?
The good news is, you’re not alone.
There are 2 approaches to making decisions around our messaging outreach. The first being subjective – i.e. using an approach that you feel best suits how you would like to someone to reach out to you.
The second is more logical – using real data to drive your decisions.
Which would you choose?
Driven by data
There are marketing professionals and analysts that devote their career to understanding the data that defines the best practices of our prospect outreach.
And lucky for us, some are willing to share their years of hard work.
People like Mike ‘Batman’ Cohen.
Mike, Founder of Wayne Technologies, is a guru in messaging best practices with a big heart. He recently shared his practical, effective, real world LinkedIn outreach techniques with the Dux-Soup audience in a live webinar– which we have turned into this handy blog.
So, read on to get quickly to the key takeaways. Or if you’d rather delve deeper, then watch the full LinkedIn messaging best practices video.
Deciphering the data / suggestions
Key takeaway 1: The more you use data to drive your decisions, the better your outcome will be.
In life, everyone has an opinion. But when it comes to your messaging, it’s important to base your decisions on what the data says, NOT on an opinion.
When it comes to the data, there are 2 types – research e.g. journal articles; and historical e.g. real results that give us statistical evidence.
Both can be used as the basis for your decisions. Throughout this article we’ll include some research resources that have been used by Batman, so you can benefit from them too.
Subject Line Do’s and Don’ts
First things first - when considering your subject lines, it’s critical to understand your audience. This is something we don’t do enough of. Something as obvious as considering what will appeal to your target market has the power to take your open rates from 1% to 30%. We’ve seen it happen. For some examples of this, head to 6:10 of the video.
Key takeaway 2: There are 2 reasons why people open emails!
a) Utility - someone sees something that fulfils a person’s direct need at the time.
b) Curiosity – someone is intrigued by what you are saying. This can be peaked by the power of our subject line messaging and is the approach that we want to take.
Should we use personalisation in our subject lines? When it comes to personalisation, there are so many different rules.
Key takeaway 3: What we’re trying to achieve with personalization is a positive emotional and behavioural reaction.
Head to 8:32 of the video to see all the positive rules and negative rules for subject line personalisation. The full research paper can be found at waynete.ch/PsychEmailArticle which shows that subject lines which tend to get more positive open rates include:
- Positive emotions
- Company name personalization
- Brand names
- The word ‘give’
- Less than 50 characters
- Capitalized first letters
Subject lines that tend to get less positive open rates include:
- An adjective at the start
- The word conference, seminar or webinar
- Less than 15 characters
Applying these rules to subject lines and A/B testing has delivered historical data evidence that you should:
a. Use their company name in the subject line. Head to 11:00 of the video to see the statistical evidence for yourself. Tip: Make sure that you clean the data to remove Ltd, Inc, PLC etc and include the company name in the way your prospect would say it.
b. Keep subject lines to 37 characters or less. Why? Because a study of over 1 billion emails showed that a high proportion of emails are opened on the phone and some of these show 41 characters. By sticking to under 37 characters, when you reply to an email, the entire subject line is still visible (with the addition of RE: ). Head to 19:30 of the video to see the data here.
Subject Line Myths
Myth #1 busted: Using numbers in the subject line doesn’t increase open rates. According to Batmans’ own data, they reduce open rates.
Myth #2 unresolved: Using questions in your subject lines. Some statistics show that they increase open rates, whilst other show they reduce open rates. This is one you’ll need to test for yourself.
Myth #3 unresolved: What spam words & phrases will trigger your emails to go into spam boxes? There is no consistency in the data here (although there is lots of it), and the likes of Google won’t reveal that information. We can’t say whether particular words/phrases are classed as ‘spam’ by email providers.
Tip: click tracking – don’t do it – your emails are more likely to get picked up by spam filters.
Messaging Do’s and Don’ts
Research tells you to write the message in your own voice. This means writing the same way that you speak.
Who introduces themselves with “Dear Bobby”? “Hi Bobby” actually carries the best response - as seen at 30:35 of the video. This comes down to the desire for everyone to be treated as a normal human being.
But how do you know something is written in your own voice? Tip: Read it out loud and ask yourself whether it’s in your voice.
Key takeaway 4: The historical data shows a reply rate of 30.5% when written in the right tone of voice compared to 9.8% with the one written in a cheeky tongue. Skip to 34:20 of the video to find out more.
More data shows that:
• Humour, used conscientiously (nothing that could be misconstrued as offensive) and occasionally e.g. in one email of a sequence, works well to increase response rates.
• Higher response rates correlate with more attractive subject lines –e.g. incentives, shorter lengths of content and more images.
• Using colour in your emails will get better response rates. This means hyperlinking your links so they stand out as call to actions. Be mindful what colour is in your emails.
To read the full data on this head over to waynete.ch/MarketingSuccessFactors
Did you know? The number one colour that helps people to calm down and read your content is blue!
The look of your email is important
It may be an obvious statement but make sure that your email looks good. The layout makes a big difference to results.
Key takeaway 5: Use only 1-2 sentences per paragraph, it’s much easier to read, making your content easily digestible by breaking it into small chunks. You can see where everything starts and stops – enabling you to scan through emails quickly.
Tip: Avoid TL;DR (if you don’t know what that stands for it’s Too Long; Didn’t Read!). Keep your messaging short and sweet.
This is one that often divides people on opinion – how many emails to send and when?
So we must remember that it’s all about the data, not opinion. Which is what these stats are based on (the data, not the opinion!).
Key takeaway 6: The optimum number of emails in a sequence is 5 emails, sent on days 1,2,4,6,7 (these are best set to business days only).
For best results keep your campaign list to under 200 (ideally around 100-150/day) to increase deliverability. To get the low-down on this, head to 49:10 of the video.
Are you thinking “isn’t that too many?” and “won’t people get annoyed by that?” The data shows that this has delivered the best results.
And in fact, using Batman’s statistics - only 10 people out of 3440 unsubscribed when these rules were followed, proving that people actually don’t find it too many. A 2.2% unsubscribe rate is the highest that Batman has experienced when following these guidelines.
So there we have it. Practical, real life data on how to improve your messaging to drive better conversion rates and more leads. So what are you waiting for? Off you go and get started.
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About Mike ‘Batman’ Cohen
Mike is Founder of Wayne Technologies and messaging guru. Follow him at: